PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Citizen Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing cleared the range June 3 for a SpaceX mission which marked the 100th launch from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
Flying HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, reservists from the wing routinely clear the coastline of marine vessels as a safety precaution before launches.
According to SpaceX’s website this was the eleventh mission to resupply the International Space Station but it was the first time the company refurbished and recycled the Dragon spacecraft onboard.
“The mission went exceptionally well,” said 1st Lt. Courtney Mccallan, helicopter pilot from the 301st Rescue Squadron. “We cleared a lot of boats and everything went according to plan.”
According to NASA’s webpage other historical launches from the site include “the landmark Apollo 11 flight to land astronauts on the moon for the first time, the first launch of a space shuttle mission and the final flight of the shuttle program.”
Mccallan identified the range clearing operations as opportunities for the unit to assist with space launches and said that it allows the unit to look after the local community.
The SpaceX website states that the first stage of Falcon 9 successfully landed at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, shortly after separation.
“It was amazing,” said Mccallan. “It was like watching a launch video in rewind.”